Create A Better Fundraising Appeal


Whether your nonprofit’s donors have chosen to contribute with recurring gifts or write one large check each year, at one point they were approached by your organization. Appeals come in many shapes and sizes, like phone calls, in-person meetings, or  email blasts, but one element is the same across the board – the ask.

Preparing your nonprofit for a successful fundraising appeal goes beyond simply creating an e-giving platform they can use to easily contribute. No matter how successful your nonprofit has been with fundraising in the past, there is always room to improve your “asking” tactics for future initiatives. To hone your communications with you dedicated donors, consider reimagining a few of the following elements in your appeal process.

Make It Timely

Successful appeals have an air of urgency to spur potential donors into action. Take the time to educate them about the immediate need that your nonprofit is attempting to meet. With this information, give an idea of what your nonprofit will be able to accomplish once you’ve met your fundraising goals. Without creating some semblance of a timeline, your potential donors will be more likely to put off contributing to your nonprofit’s efforts, and your nonprofit will risk losing contributions.

Make It Emotionally Appealing

Donors don’t give to organizations. They give to causes that resonate with them. All of your donor communications, from your website to your email blasts, need to incorporate a human element. Rather than simply asking for donations, tell donors why they need to help and give examples of whom their gifts will benefit. For a prime example of a website that uses this approach, take a look at Sower of Seeds.


Nonprofits that have not made the jump into mobile may be missing out. According to a 2014 report from Marketing Land, 66% of email are opened through mobile. Blue Hornet urges organizations to mobile optimize by pointing out that up to 80% of users will delete an unopened email if it has not been optimized for mobile. With these statistics in mind, it would be prudent to reevaluate your donor’s mobile experience. Are your emails and website easy to navigate from a smartphone or tablet? If your answer is “no”, it may be time to invest in updating your nonprofit’s communications for use on a mobile platform.

Segment Your Audience

Though your donors may all share an interest in your organization’s cause, that does not mean they’ve gotten involved in the same ways or for the same reasons. Take the time to segment your donors by large gifts, small gifts, recurring gifts and first-time givers. Each of these groups have different giving preferences and budgets. Be sure to tailor your communications, especially email blasts, to each group for a more personal, and effective, appeal.

Appeals are an integral part of your nonprofit’s fundraising activities. If your organization is not asking for the help it needs to make a difference, in most cases, the need for donations will go unnoticed. Make a few of the above changes to your appeals strategy to garner more support for your organization.